Android could always hang with the big boys (RIM, Apple, Microsoft, and Nokia) in terms of functionality, but it was lacking a polished user interface. Android 2.0 not only catches Google’s baby up to the rest, in many ways it zooms past them. But, don’t take our word for it. Take a tour of Android 2.0 (on the Motorola Droid) and see for yourself.

New Features of 2.0 include (according to the Android Development Team):

Contacts and accounts

  • Multiple accounts can be added to a device for email and contact synchronization, including Exchange accounts. (Handset manufacturers can choose whether to include Exchange support in their devices.)
  • Developers can create sync adapters that provide synchronization with additional data sources.
  • Quick Contact for Android provides instant access to a contact’s information and communication modes. For example, a user can tap a contact photo and select to call, SMS, or email the person. Other applications such as Email, Messaging, and Calendar can also reveal the Quick Contact widget when you touch a contact photo or status icon.
  • Sync support for contacts from multiple data sources including Exchange. Handset manufacturers can choose whether or not to include Exchange support in their devices.
  • New way to hover on a person to see more info and select communication mode (for example, phone, SMS, email).

Email

  • Exchange support.
  • Combined inbox to browse email from multiple accounts in one page.

Messaging

  • Search functionality for all saved SMS and MMS messages.
  • Auto delete the oldest messages in a conversation when a defined limit is reached.

Camera

  • Built-in flash support
  • Digital zoom
  • Scene mode
  • White balance
  • Color effect
  • Macro focus

Android virtual keyboard

  • An improved keyboard layout to makes it easier to hit the correct characters and improve typing speed.
  • The framework’s multi-touch support ensures that key presses aren’t missed while typing rapidly with two fingers.
  • A smarter dictionary learns from word usage and automatically includes contact names as suggestions.

Browser

  • Refreshed UI with actionable browser URL bar enables users to directly tap the address bar for instant searches and navigation.
  • Bookmarks with web page thumbnails.
  • Support for double-tap zoom.
  • Support for HTML5:
    • Database API support, for client-side databases using SQL.
    • Application cache support, for offline applications.
    • Geolocation API support, to provide location information about the device.
    • <video> tag support in fullscreen mode.

Calendar

  • Agenda view provides infinite scrolling.
  • Events indicate the attending status for each invitee.
  • Invite new guests to events.